I don’t know how many of you have heard or seen Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University Commencement speech. Usually graduates, who sit under the hot sun, rarely remember the content of the speech that is normally given by a famous person during their commencement. Honestly, I don’t even remember the graduation commencement speech of my graduation.
But there is something about what Steve Jobs shared in his speech that really espoused some important principles in life. Even though it was from a secular perspective, there were some biblical truths that resonated with me. Through the power of personal stories, I have this strange suspicion that this is one speech that many of the 2005 Stanford graduates will remember.
First, check out his speech below. It is worth every 14 minutes and 11 seconds of it. Then I will give some of my thoughts.
There are several things in his speech that struck me:
2) Passion. Sometimes you only discover your passion for something, when you are willing to risk what is safe and secure. Often times we are bound by our fears. So instead of doing things that we love, we end up settling for “average” and the status quo. Sometimes failure helps us to discover our passions. Usually when we fail in something, there is a process of self-evaluation. We begin to see things more clearly. God has given each one of us various passions that have been shaped by our experiences. We will never find real joy and even purpose in life unless we live out the things that we are passionate about (Ps 16:11). The best part is when people pay you to do what you are passionate!
3) Priorities. Death is the ultimate equalizer. Regardless of who you are, what status you have, what material things you own, what awards you have won, death is a common denominator of all humanity. Too often in our quest for significance in this world, we forget what is important to us. We try to find temporary pleasure in material things, but it leaves us unsatisfied and longing for something more. There seems to be this unified sentiment from people who have either lost a loved one or who have gone through a near-death experience – they all talk about priorities and what is really important. We know that we will never be able to take “things” with us when we die, but then why do we so single-mindedly pursue them? When everything is said and done, what seems to matter the most is the impact you have had on people’s lives. I am a firm believer that you can always tell how a person has lived their life by observing their funeral. For us, as a Christ-follower, at the end of our lives, we want to know that we have done everything that God has called us to do. It is hearing the words of, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:23) that we hunger for when we see Christ face-to-face.
Perspective. Passion. Priorities. These things help us to understand our purpose in life, as well as to enable us to praise the One who gives us all things according to His will.